Lusaka — The UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in partnership with the Government of Zambia brought together various stakeholders to discuss a way forward towards the finalization and adoption of a national land policy frame work.
Speaking during the official opening of a Multi-stakeholder Consultative Meeting held in Lusaka, Zambia on 6-7 March 2014, Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Zambia Harry Kalaba, said a national land policy was long overdue calling for an urgent roadmap to finalize the land policy whose process had stalled for nearly a decade.
He said the Government of Zambia was committed to adopting a land policy in line with the African Union Declaration on Land adopted by heads of State in 2009 in Libya.
"Zambia, is part of this declaration and is making strides to develop a land policy to ensure that land plays its important role in national development,"
He reiterated. Kalaba lauded the efforts of ECA, the African Union and African Development Bank tripartite Land Policy Initiative and other partners for their support and called upon land experts to provide lessons that Zambia could draw from as it seeks to address issues related to among others insecurity of tenure for customary land, land displacement, transparency in land administration and inequality in land access and distribution.
Meanwhile, ECA Southern Africa Office, Director, Said Adejumobi Land was a fundamental asset and the primary basis of livelihood for the majority of Zambians and Africans.
He said the a high proportion of income, employment and export earnings were derived from agricultural production and other land based activities, such as mining, forestry and tourism.
"Land for us in Africa has greater importance to us than economics; it carries social, spiritual, political and cultural significance, being a source of identity and power in most of our societies " said Adejumobi.
He said Zambia whose majority of land is managed under customary systems of tenure, is faced with challenges in fusing customary and statutory governance systems.
"It is our believe that, by drawing on the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa, as well as lessons from other parts of the continent and the world, Zambia will be able to address these challenges in the context of developing the comprehensive land policy."
Adejumobi called for a reflective and frank dialogue with tolerance and understanding amongst key national stakeholders on land reforms in the country, noting the existence of regional and international perspectives to bear on the Zambian experience with no need to reinvent the wheel in several areas.
The land policy multi-stakeholder consultative meeting was held in the context of the Land Policy Initiative (LPI).
ECA through LPI and in collaboration with other partners including FAO, UNHabitat, IFAD, the World Bank work to strengthen and operationalise an inclusive and participatory platform for the engagement of all land stakeholders using the AU Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa and the Voluntary Guidelines on the Tenure of Land Fisheries and Forests.